Los Angeles: Martin Kaymer`s stunning eight-shot victory at the Abu Dhabi Championship on Sunday served yet another reminder of the rich renaissance in European golf at the highest level.
The ice-cool German replaced Tiger Woods as the world number two following his third success in four years at the tournament in the United Arab Emirates, and three players from Europe now occupy spots in the top four.
Britain`s Lee Westwood remains at number one in the world rankings with American Woods third and Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell fourth. Three other Europeans are in the top 10.
The last time two Europeans were ranked first and second was in 1993 when Britain`s Nick Faldo and Germany`s Bernhard Langer reigned supreme.
"You can see how strong European golf has become the last few years, and not only through the Ryder Cup, just if you have a look at the major winners last year," Kaymer told reporters.
"It`s just a matter of time before Rory (McIlroy) wins a big, big tournament somewhere. He won at Quail Hollow last year but I think he will win plenty of majors in his career."
"So you can see that European golf is getting better and better. The PGA Tour in America is a fantastic tour but I think our Tour, we don`t have to hide anywhere."
Seventh-ranked McIlroy, widely tipped as a future world number one, was a member of the team which beat the United States in last year`s Ryder Cup, Europe`s fourth triumph in the last five editions of the biennial team event.
Aged only 21, the Northern Irishman served notice of his abundant potential when he shot a course record 10-under 62 to win the PGA Tour`s Quail Hollow Championship by four strokes last year.
Ryder Cup aside, 2010 was most memorable from a European perspective because of the continent`s unprecedented successes in the majors and the elite World Golf Championship (WGC) events.
McDowell won the US Open, Kaymer lifted the PGA Championship, Britain`s Ian Poulter clinched the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and Italy`s Francesco Molinari claimed the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament.
"It`s brought a lot to the European Tour with three major champions, the Ryder Cup win and then Lee becoming the world`s No. 1," said McDowell, who won four titles worldwide last year. "It`s been exciting for European golf. We`ve got some really great, young talent coming through."
South African Louis Oosthuizen, a European Tour member, won last year`s British Open.
While the US PGA Tour has traditionally attracted the world`s best players because of its stronger financial muscle, its European counterpart has frequently been superior in quality on certain weeks of the year.
This week`s events staged at opposite ends of the world were a case in point.
The European Tour`s Abu Dhabi Championship attracted six players from the world`s top 10, and 14 of the top 30.
On the PGA Tour, the Bob Hope Classic at La Quinta, California drew only two members of the top 30, and just six of top 50.